(La Gente d'Italia) The closure of the Italian School of Asmara: a defeat (desired) for Italy

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Tuesday, 01 September 2020

The closure of the Italian School of Asmara: a defeat (desired) for Italy

Appeal to Mattarella, Conte and parliamentarians to renegotiate an agreement with Eritrea

After the decision of the Eritrean government to seal the Italian School of Asmara, a story that began more than a hundred years ago in 1903 ends ingloriously. The Eritrean decision was taken in the deafening silence of the Italian government, which also in this circumstance demonstrated his complete lack of interest in Italians abroad (as well as any far-reaching vision in the management of foreign policy). The curtain falls on an institution that had survived the events of the First and Second World Wars, the decolonization, the struggle of Eritrea for independence from Ethiopia.

In 2012 it seemed that everything was settled definitively between Italy (the former colonial power) and the young Republic of Eritrea : a Bilateral Technical Agreement was stipulated between the two Governments to regulate the joint management of the School, an agreement lasting five years, renewable on expiry. But the troubles begin immediately. Meanwhile, the Italian Government does not appoint the members of the Italian side in the Joint Technical Committee provided for by the Bilateral Agreement for the management of the Institute. The reasons for this omission are still unexplained and unexplained!

But things definitely worsen in 2017 and 2018, when with the education reform, the funds for training institutes abroad are drastically reduced (DLn 64/2017 and DMn 2051/2018), preventing the employment of personnel alternate and requiring the use of local teachers, decisions that have had negative repercussions on the whole Italian school system abroad, up to that moment one of the points of excellence of Italy in the world. In Eritrea, the massive use of local staff has greatly diminished the distinctive character of the school and its educational offer, giving the Eritrean government, not without reason, the impression of a lack of interest on the Italian side in this institution.

On the Eritrean side , attempts have been made to urge Italy to respect the agreements, but the silence in which these reminders have fallen has frustrated any attempt to resolve the problem. Despite this, at the expiry of the agreement, in 2017, the Eritrean Government , in the silence of the Italian one , renewed the opening license of the Institute from year to year until the 2019/2020 school year.

In 2020, the uncertain management of the pandemic by the Italian Government (which has generated and engendered so much controversy in Italy ) also had negative repercussions for the School of Asmara . In fact, the School would have autonomously decided to suspend the teaching activity, forgetting that the management of the School is regulated by the 2012 agreement, not only without agreeing it with the local Authorities, but informing them of the decision only a few hours before closing. The late intervention of President Conte to the Head of the Eritrean Governmentit had no success, so the Italian government had no choice but to pick up the "pieces" of its own inadequacy and deal with the relocation of Italian personnel to other institutions.

We believe that a story that began in 1903 cannot end in this way, and therefore we address an appeal to the Head of State , President Mattarella , to the Prime Minister , to all Italian Parliamentarians , especially those elected abroad, to the exponents of the Cultura Italiana , to Italian public opinion in general, so that everything possible be done to find an agreement with the Eritrean government to renegotiate an agreement for the reopening of the Asmara School . We also address our appeal to the Eritrean Government, through the Ambassador of Eritrea in Italyand to the numerous students and former students of the Asmara School , because we are sure that the presence of the Italian School in Asmara has been and can still be a factor of progress also for Eritrea.

Aldo Rovito

President of the Cultural Association "Italian Identity - Italians Abroad"
(Software translation)

EmbassyMedia - Interview with H.E Askalu Menkerios & H.E. Tewelde Kelati 'Eritrea Marin Resources'

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